Date
19 October 2017
The taxi driver took a picture of his passenger breastfeeding her baby in the backseat, and posted it on Facebook without getting permission from the mother. Photo: HKEJ
The taxi driver took a picture of his passenger breastfeeding her baby in the backseat, and posted it on Facebook without getting permission from the mother. Photo: HKEJ

Taxi driver probed over online photo of breastfeeding passenger

Police are looking into the case of a taxi driver who posted on social media a photo of a passenger breastfeeding her baby in the back seat.

The Facebook post drew condemnation from the public, who said the driver violated the mother’s privacy because the picture was put in the public domain without her permission and no attempt was made to hide her identity, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

Secretary for Food and Health Dr. Ko Wing-man joined the outcry, saying the privacy of breastfeeding mothers should be respected, adding that photos taken privately should not be publicly disseminated.

The Cyber Security and Technology Crime Bureau, which is investigating the case, will try to determine if the driver has violated any ordinance, but said no one has been arrested yet.

Some netizens have gathered information about the taxi driver who posted the picture. The man, surnamed Chow, is from Tai O and has been a taxi driver for 28 years, Apple Daily reported, adding that the mother is a foreigner.

Asked if he thinks the incident reflects poorly on society’s acceptance of public nursing, Ko said the government is extremely supportive of breastfeeding and has been actively promoting the practice, Ming Pao Daily reported.

He said the government has designated breastfeeding rooms wherever possible for staff to store milk for their babies.

He encourages other companies, including public transport firms, to follow suit.

Legislator Helena Wong Pik-wan of the Democratic Party called on the breastfeeding mother whose picture was taken to get involved in the investigation, noting that the taxi driver had infringed on her privacy.

She said the incident reflects the backward mentality and prejudice of some people in Hong Kong towards breastfeeding.

Wong said although the government has been trying to encourage breastfeeding, its efforts are mostly about slogans with little tangible action.

Many men still look at breastfeeding as something erotic, which just goes to show that a lot of education is still needed to change the prevailing attitude.

Lee Chi-cheung, chairman of the Hong Kong Kowloon & New Territories Taxi Association, also denounced the driver’s behavior, saying that his action has smeared the image of the entire taxi industry.

Another taxi driver, surnamed Chan, said breastfeeding is a normal activity and any mother who is doing it should be left alone.

Barrister Albert Luk Wai-hung said a public transport driver who takes a picture of a breastfeeding mother and shares it with pornographic intent could be charged with accessing the computer with criminal or dishonest intent.

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EL/AC/CG

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